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About the KNOX Project

Key figures

  • Acronym: KNOX
  • Start date: 01/08/2017
  • Duration: 24 months
  • End date: 31/07/2019
  • Project Coordinator: Nanna Tribler
  • Consortium: 6 partners (prisons and stadiums)

Objectives

The overall objective of the KNOX innovation project is to optimize, fully demonstrate and setup commercialization of the KNOX courter-drone solution. As such, we aim at demonstrating the new counter-drone system in operational environments with security services providers – public and private sector, responsible for the security in sports stadiums and prisons (bringing the technology to TRL7-8).

To optimize and validate the full KNOX concept in different operational environments, the project includes 4 prisons and 2 sports stadiums – enabling the full system validation, operational and tactical demonstrations required.

Background

Civilian Drones: A problem and an opportunity

  • Drones were initially developed for military and defence purposes. Technical developments (e.g. in lightweight materials and on-board computers) have made drones increasingly popular for civil uses also. Thousands of companies, mostly SMEs in the EU, develop, manufacture and use drones in infrastructure monitoring, aerial mapping and many other industries. Mass production and miniature electronics have made drones small and cheap enough now to be accessible to the general public.Drones are therefore, quickly moving from military technology to mass market gadgets, but the rapid growth of the consumer drone market is also raising security and privacy concerns.
  • Drones (i) have been spotted over airports or close to them, disrupting or/and threatening civil aviation, notably in Spain[1], UK[2], France[3] and in the US[4]; (ii) have flown or crashed on the ground in the White House area[5]; (iii) have come very close to Prime Ministers[6], and have been found on the office of the Japanese prime minister, carrying radioactive material[7]; (iv) have been flown over critical infrastructure such as nuclear power stations in France[8] or embassies and tourist attractions[9]; (v) have been used for smuggling goods, drugs and weapons across borders and into prisons[10]; (vi) have impeded quick intervention by law enforcement authorities and fire-fighters in Norway[11]; (vii) have injured people on the ground[12]. Presently, there are obvious concerns about the use of drones for terrorist attacks in which drones could be equipped with explosives, biological or chemical weapons.The increased use of drones for illegal purposes in critical infrastructures, temporary static targets and mobile soft targets is driving the critical infrastructures owners and security services providers – public authorities, private security companies and law enforcement agencies – to seek innovative solutions capable of protecting against drones’ threats. Presently, the counter-drones technologies are predominantly focused on military force-protection scenarios. These technologies and interdiction methods are not necessarily appropriate for civilian drones operating within the civil airspace. As such, there is a need for a solution that can effectively early detect the presence of any drone within a no-fly zone or defensive perimeter around a static or mobile target and block its activity without interfering with other mobile signals in urban context. Also, there is a need for a solution that is at same time economically viable, socially acceptable and technically effective.MyDefence has decided to seize a business opportunity by developing and prototyping the KNOX, capable of detecting and jamming illegal drones and preventing their access to areas where their presence is not desired, such as critical infrastructures, temporary static targets and mobile soft targets in urban context.KNOX is an early warning system based on RF, micro-Doppler radar detection and reactive spot jamming technology able to detect, identify and locate illegal drones and to jam the device in a specific wireless frequency range without interfering with other mobile signals and forcing a controlled drone landing.

Output

The KNOX innovation project aims at promoting the growth of secure societies – protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens through the development and market deployment of a novel and innovative solution capable of detecting and jamming illegal drones in urban context and preventing their access to areas where their presence is not desired.

Impact

  • The KNOX innovation project will significantly increase MyDefence’s competitiveness through launching an efficient, reliable, safe, flexible and cost advantageous counter-drone solution for urban context and opening vast and global market opportunities.
  • KNOX will improve the security and protection of critical infrastructures, private properties and mobile soft targets against civilian drones’ threats in urban areas.
  • The deployment of the KNOX system will provide strong technological, societal and economic benefits to the security services providers (public authorities, prisons services, private security companies, law enforcement agencies) and critical infrastructures’ owners – public and private sectors – as well as to the general public.

Main Concepts

    • Critical Infrastructure is the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy to function. Infrastructure is composed of public and private physical improvements such as roadsbridgestunnelswater supplysewerselectrical grids, and telecommunications (including Internet connectivity and broadband speeds). In general, it has also been defined as “the physical components of interrelated systems providing commodities and services essential to enable, sustain, or enhance societal living conditions“.
    • Soft targets are civilian sites where unarmed people congregate in large numbers; examples include national monuments, hospitals, schools, sporting arenas, hotels, cultural centers, movie theaters, cafésand restaurants, places of worship, nightclubs, shopping centers, transportation sites (such as railway stations, buses, rail systems, and ferries), and farmers’ cooperatives.
    • Hard targets typically restrict access to the public and are well-protected. Examples of hard targets include airports, government buildings, military installations, foreign embassies, and nuclear power plants.
    • Reactive spot jamming is a specific technology for detecting and jamming a specific wireless signal accurately at medium rage, in time and in a very specific frequency without interfering with other mobile signals.
    • Barrage jamming Barrage jamming is an electronic warfaretechnique that attempts to blind radar systems by filling the display with noise, rendering the broadcaster’s blip invisible on the display, and often those in the nearby area as well. “Barrage” refers to systems that send signals in many bands of frequencies compared to the bandwidth of any single radar. This allows the jammer to jam multiple radars at once and reduces or eliminates the need for adjustments to respond to any single radar.

     

References

[1] http://ccaa.elpais.com/ccaa/2016/05/23/paisvasco/1464029278_248382.html [2] 7 December 2014, The Guardian, Drone ‘near miss’ with passenger plane close to Heathrow airport investigated; 20 April 2015, The Telegraph, Flights diverted at Manchester airport as drone sighted over runway 
[3]
Air France flight AF1149 experienced a near miss with a drone while on approach to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport – https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=185105
[4]
22 March 2014, reported by the Wall Street Journal, FAA: U.S. Airliner Nearly Collided with Drone in March; 29 May 2014, drones around planes landing in NYC and in Los Angeles airports; 23 June 2014, Washington Post, Close encounters on rise as small drones gain in popularity; 29 May 2015, Fox News, NY-bound passenger jet reports near-miss with drone
[5]
Drones in Capital Hill area on 3 and 7 July, 19 and 29 August: 26 January 2015, Washington Post, Small drones near the White House and Capitol: A short recent history; 26 January 2015, Washington Post, Drone operator says he accidentally crashed device on White House grounds; 14 May 2015, The Washington Post, Drone operator detained in front of White House
[6]
20 September 2013, Mini-Drone Incident Shows Security Failings (Merkel), http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/federal-police-report-explains-inaction-despite-mini-drone-attack-a-923509.html
[7]
22 April 2015, New York Times, Drone, Possibly Radioactive, Is Found at Office of Japan’s Prime Minister
[8]
30 October 2014, France 24, France on alert after mystery drones spotted over nuclear plants – http://www.france24.com/en/20141030-france-alert-after-mystery-drones-spotted-over-nuclear-plants/
[9]
25 February 2015, France 24, Al-Jazeera journalists arrested for flying drone in Paris – http://www.france24.com/en/20150225-drone-paris-al-jazeera-journalists-arrested/
[10]
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/drones-operated-by-criminal-gangs-used-to-deliver-drugs-mobile-phones-and-potentially-firearms-to-10504154.html
[11]
20 January 2014, BBC, Norway fire chars wooden village of Laerdalsoyri
[12]
7 April 2014, The Sidney Morning Herald, ‘River of blood’ after drone ‘hits’ Australian athlete; 9 December 2014, TGI Friday drone crashes into woman’s face and cuts it open in restaurant, The Independent; 3 June 2015, The Guardian, Drone injury grounds Enrique Iglesias for longer than expected